Merry Christmas, every one!  It’s 8.30am on Christmas Day here.

Our two girls have fallen asleep again after waking up at 2.57am and 4.30am respectively to see what Santa had left in their stockings.  Lots of excited unwrapping and exclamations of delight later (“Dad, can you believe that Santa gave me a Barbie `laptop'”), they have snuggled down to sleep on the lounge and in a beanbag.  This is very fortunate, as we have a long day ahead.

I’ve just made the mixture for the champagne crepes which will later form the basis for a smoked salmon & crepe `cake’ (recipe provided on demand).  While it rests, I’ve checked the news and weather on the net.  It will be fine and 25 degrees Celsius: rather cool for this time of year.

We’ll have some of my partner’s family here late in the morning and open our gifts to each other before eating lunch.  Perhaps it’s a reflection of the age or of our social milieu that the family connections are a little curious.  There’s my partner’s father and his second wife (the not-so-evil step-mom).  Plus there’s the step mother’s mother and her brother, who’s returned from living in an Indian ashram to spend Christmas in Australia (yes, go figure!).  

We’re also hoping for a visit from a woman who lives nearby and who seems to be spending Christmas alone.  Her marriage to a friend of ours ended tragically earlier this year, and it’s his turn to have their boys.  We feel pretty badly for her, as most of their friends seem to have opted to stick with him and haven’t remained in contact with her.

We’ll telephone other family members in different parts of Australia during the day.  And late in the day we’ll probably see our family best friends who live 500 meters up the street.

So Christmas for us will involve far too much food and drink, excesses in the gift department, and lots of convivial time with family and friends.

My partner talked yesterday about the fact that she hadn’t managed to provide a gift to a local children’s home who said that they didn’t have enough gifts to go around.  It seems that their teenage boys are not well provided for by donors.  

This, and a discussion about our lonely friend, reminded me that I used to get very sad as a child when I thought about all the people in the world who don’t have enough to eat.  Lately I’ve thought a lot about the suffering of children.  Our own adopted daughter prompts me to think about the baby girls abandoned in China due to the one-child policy, economics and social attitudes.  A staggering 100,000 of them each year have no hope of ever having a family life.

When I was younger I was politically active, hoping to correct the injustices of the world.  These days being a parent, and an employee of the reactionary Australian government, means that there isn’t time for political activism, and even if there were it would be detrimental to my employment.  So I mainly just feel powerless and seethe about the problems of the world.  Perhaps my daughters will be able to change it.  Oh, they’ve both woken again, and Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert (my partner’s choice on the CD player to keep the girls asleep) is giving way to Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

What are you doing at Christmas, and how do you feel about the world?

Cross-posted at European Tribune.

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